Friday, July 20, 2012

Caramel Cafe Mocha Cupcakes

My sister in law is a huge Starbucks fanatic.

Huge.  In fact, I'm sure she spends at least one full paycheck there each year.

When I saw this at the Brown Eyed Baker, I knew I should keep it in mind for her birthday.  I slightly modified it, but in the long run, these treats were a huge success.

Since my SIL is gluten free, I made the entire process easy for myself by investing in Betty Crocker's Gluten Free chocolate cake mix.  I've tried different GF mixes before, but her's is the smoothest I've found so far.  
The only thing I did differently was to add 2 Starbucks Via Italian Roast packets to the mix.  This added the "mocha" flavor I desired.  Bake according to the box's directions.

For the butter cream frosting, it went like this:
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2½ cups powdered sugar
1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
1½ Via Italian roast packets

Mix up butter until smooth.  Slowly add powdered sugar.  Once to desired consistency, blend in vanilla and coffee crystals. Start with one packet of Via.  Add as much or as little as you want, depending on the strength of the coffee flavor.
To decorate, I took the naked cupcakes (remove the paper if you use the liners), and placed them in the bottom of a Starbucks hot sample cup.  (They'll share them with you if you buy something there, like the Via.)

Then, leaving a little space around the edge, frost the cupcakes to look like whipped cream.  For the straws, cut the Starbucks' straws into thirds.  Top with caramel drizzle (I used Smucker's from the squeeze tube), and then finished with mini chocolate chips.

FYI: The straw helps to pull the cupcake back out for eating purposes.

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